Bobby Long is my not-so-new musician crush. I discovered him, along with his friends Sam Bradley and Marcus Foster about six months ago while searching for some quotes from a movie I was watching. Of the three, Bobby Long is by far my favorite. His music is varied but personal. He writes about numerous topics- death, World War I, love, relationships. His debut album was released the same day as he made his first national appearance on US television, appearing on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
This album has all that I love about Bobby’s music. From the delicately artistic cover, understated colors on the CD itself to the simple yet elegant lyric insert, it is obvious that much thought has gone into this first creation of his. (Actually, he self released another album, this is his first with a record company.)
‘A Winter Tale’ is the first song on the album and the title track. The distortion used at the beginning is probably the ‘hardest’ he gets on the entire album. The beat moves the song forward, supported by occasional female vocals which is the only other voice to be heard besides Bobby’s on the whole album. The effect is ethereal, blending the male and female nicely.
‘Who Have You Been Loving’ is the second song on the album. Released early for fans to download, this is probably my favorite song on the album. The guitar is only slightly distorted in this song, but it lends to the overall feeling of defense in the song. ‘If you’re no better now than you have ever been, then you owe me an apology’ he croons.
‘The Bounty of Mary Jane’ is sweet, soulful and is one of the moments where his finger-picking style really stands out. I love his use of words we don’t hear that often anymore. In this song and in ‘Penance Fire Blues’ he uses suffragette.
‘In the Frost’ picks up the pace once more with insightful lyrics such as ‘and the faithful kiss their crosses but their hate still spreads the disease.’ This song differs from most of the others in that the lyrics rarely rhyme, giving the song a distinctive feel from the others.
‘Sick Man Blues’ keeps the upbeat pace going with more intricate picking. The pain of misplaced love rings through this song.
‘Penance Fire Blues’ is the song he chose to sing at the Jay Leno Show (He did a terrific job, by the way, despite the fact that his number was given much less time than originally planned- he stepped out and immediately started playing. I wasn’t sure if they would cut him off, they were running so far behind.) This song also uses unusual wording, ‘And suffragette speakers who deny that they ever wore a dress,’ ‘rich boy playing poor.’ It continues the upbeat pace of the last few songs in a folksy, bluesy sort of way.
‘A Passing Tale’ slows the pace only slightly. A story of love lost and gone wrong, he once again uses vocabulary (*sigh*)…’and it’s cold and rancid outside. and I’m outside.’ His female counterpart joins him once more on this song, complimenting his lament.
‘Dead and Done,’ a song about a young man who has died and is reassuring his family that he’s fine, is my second favorite song. Slower than the previous songs, it takes it’s time, mixing strumming and finger picking. His one guitar and a harmonica are the only accompaniment on this song.
‘Being a Mockingbird’ has a polka type rhythm and quite frankly, I don’t understand the lyrics at all. As a result, this is my least favorite of the whole album. But I have gathered from YouTube clips that this is a fan favorite when he plays in London. There may be something I am missing.
‘Two Years Old’ is a song I am familiar with from Myspace and here it is a different version. I prefer the one from Myspace, but Hubby likes the way the music changes in the middle of this one. This song is about World War I and a British man, so the distinctly American style of music in the middle feels out of place to me. To each his own. It’s still a good song.
‘A Stranger Song’ is also one I was unfamiliar with before buying this album. It’s slower than the previous song, but doesn’t drag. A song about love, it’s once more the end of a love affair. In keeping with the sad undertone of the song, he strums the guitar rather than the delicate finger picking. ‘A woman’s love can cause a man to spill his every flaw.’
I absolutely adore this album, as you can tell. It may have something to do with the fact that I am a big fan of Bobby Long’s, but I highly recommend the record. You can listen to some of the songs here. I think he’s going somewhere and can’t wait to see him in concert. (Yes, I have my tickets and CAN NOT WAIT!) ‘For you my love, always for you my love….’